Applying for new jobs is a multi-part process. You can’t just fire off a general resume and cover letter; everything needs to be tailored to the specific position. That makes sense — and presents you in the best light to prospective employers — but it’s also a lot of work.
Certainly when you’re preparing job applications, it benefits you to make sure your resume is in great shape. But what exactly does that look like? ResumeLab consulted 100 professional resume writers and career experts in order to identify the most common resume mistakes, and how we can avoid them. Here are their top three mustn’t dos.
Ignoring the job posting
We said it up top, but it bears repeating: It would definitely be easier to send out the same resume for every job you apply for, but unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. In fact, 100% of the professionals surveyed said doing this is a problem likely to cause your resume to be rejected out of hand. The best way to avoid this fate is by tailoring a draft of your resume to include keywords from the job posting. According to ResumeLab:
Every resume you send out has to be personalised to match the requirements of the job you’re applying for. It’s not rocket science. In fact, you have a very clear blueprint of keywords to include in a given resume: the job offer itself!
Why is it so important? First of all, most large companies nowadays use Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) to scan resumes before those reach a human decision-maker. ATS is programmed to search for relevant keywords on a resume. If it can’t find those on yours, you’re not getting a pass, simple as that.
Plus, on a resume, you have to show you’re the right candidate for this role — it’s actually impossible to do so without addressing keywords related to required skills or areas of expertise.
Applying for jobs can seem like a numbers game, but taking the extra time to address keywords for this job in your resume could help you stand out — or avoid getting entirely overlooked.
Using an unprofessional email address
Does the email address you use on job applications contain something other than your first and last name, and maybe a tasteful number (i.e. not 69)? If so, you’re going to want to get a new one (even if you only use it forapplying to jobs): 100% of the resume professionals surveyed said that listing an unprofessional email address on your resume is a big problem, noting that the only items your email address can contain are:
Also, the career experts advise against using your current work email on job applications because “it looks unprofessional and makes your integrity questionable.”
This should go without saying, but proofread your resume (or ask someone else to do it) before sending it out. Then proofread it again. Everyone slips up and includes a typo here or there, but this isn’t something you want on your resume. In fact, 99% of the resume writers surveyed said this is also a major problem likely to send your resume straight to the recycling bin.